part 2: "realization" rurouni kenshin was created by watsuki nobuhirou (C) shueisha JUMP, sony, fuji TV, anime works
notes: minna-san, sorry about the long wait! megumi sure likes to mess with sano's head. yes, i love including a 'flying rice balls bit' in my stories, and other running gags. lots of flashbacks in this one (in italics)! can you name where each of these events occur. email me if you can uptake this challange. happy reading! jill 6/30/1

Quiet Rest
Part 2: "Realization"

Kaoru’s eyes flickered open. She had dreamt that her dojo had been set on fire again, this time with Kenji trapped inside. Strangely, Yahiko and Sanosuke were there, fighting each other without even noticing the fire. Screaming, she charged into the burning building, only to find it empty and collapsing around her.

“OH!” Kaoru jolted up, clutching her head. What a terrible thing to dream, but she couldn’t help but feel like something had happened to her dojo. ‘Masaka! Did Yashiitomo get out of jail and…?!’ Without even thinking, she lost her balance and fell out of bed again. Legs still up in the air, Kaoru sighed and dizzily gazed at the ceiling. ‘I really don’t like this bed…’

“Waaaaaah!!” Kenji was now awake and letting everyone know. Kaoru quickly scrambled on her feet and rushed to his side, her face calming him down. “Gggguuu!”

“Uhn, I’m here, Kenji.” she said softly going to lift him out of the crib. As always he was hungry. Kaoru gazed out the window, the sun hadn’t risen and it probably around 4AM. Going to sit on the edge of the bed, she nursed him and rocked him back to sleep. “You and your Dad have the same sleeping face… kawaii ne! Now if only I can go back to sleep…”

It was then, she heard a door in the hall open and footsteps. She got up and peered out. Takeru went past her and into the parlor, gathering up his gear. “A-Ano…” she stammered, walking barefoot over to him, still holding the baby, “Takeru-san, ohayou gozaimasu!”

He paused to look at her for a moment, and then turn back towards the fishing gear. Kaoru frowned; the two of them had never really talked, not since their battle three years ago. Their conversations had always included others and he usually avoided speaking directly to her. However, he and Kenshin got along well.

“Are you leaving so early? The sun hasn’t risen yet and everyone is still asleep.” she said, trying to catch his eye, “And shouldn’t you speak with Miki-san first?”

He just faced the door. “I’m behind on my quota. If I don’t catch fish, then I don’t get paid. Please excuse me.” He then picked up his stuff and left.

‘Mou, what is with that person…?’ Kaoru sighed and dropped her head. She then sat down on the sofa and gazed towards the window. The sky was dark and cloudy. Kenji fell asleep, like everyone else probably in this town. Leaning her head back, she closed her eyes and wondered if everything was fine back home.

* * *
Yahiko didn’t have an ounce of sleep. He sat in the dojo, wide-eyed and in shock even since Sanosuke had told him the news. Looking quite dead, he had fell into despair, for he knew that his life will be cut short and ending very soon.

“Cheer up, Yarou!” Sanosuke said, sitting beside him. He had stayed the entire night, cleaning up the mess. Now he was trying to get Yahiko up to make him breakfast. But nothing had worked so far. Patting the boy on the head, Sanosuke gazed at the wall. “Look, Jou-chan ain’t gonna kill you. It’s totally against her beliefs…”

”Uresu!” Yahiko cried, again clutching his head, “Kaoru is mental case! You remember those times she lost her mind and almost killed someone… I still see that scary face in my nightmares… aaaah! She’s gonna kill me!!”

Sanosuke tilted his head to the side. In his mind, he remembered those events where the Kaoru they knew would fade and an insane person would surface. The first time they witnessed it was on the battlefield just outside the Seaport Wakana. Kaoru, on the verge of winning, had snapped – screaming and ineffectively fighting her opponent empty-handed.

“DAMN YOU SELF BASTARD!! WHY?! Why… why…?!!?” she sobbed, not concerned about the fight anymore. It was something else that many of them couldn’t understand.

‘If Kenshin hadn’t got to her in time… that bastard could’ve easily taken over the fight. Still, that wasn’t the last we’ve seen of that side of Kaoru… I remember the time we all went looking for Kenshin, that time he purposively left with another woman, who ended up being his sister…’

“HAAAAA!!!” Kaoru struck of the bandit in the ribs so hard that her shinai broke. She then grabbed the other bandit and twisted around him, choking him with the broken piece. Fortunately again, they stopped her and she became as she was before.

‘Underneath that sweet smile and innocent face there lies an emotional mess. Kaoru had lost loved ones, not by death or some uncontrolled circumstance… but by choice. Rejected, abandoned… Kaoru doesn’t want to be alone again…’ Sanosuke frowned towards the floor, ‘And we won’t let her be… we’ll stay by her always…’

Suddenly Yahiko grabbed him by the collar shaking him. “OI! OI! What are we going to do?! This is all your fault – you’ve got to help me out here, Sanosuke!! Otherwise, I’m going to bring you down with me!!”

“Maa, I don’t have any ideas at the time. The least we can do is clean it up so that when they come to take a look at it, they might take pity on us. Otherwise, do ya want to just try beating them up for the deed back??”

“Chikuso!! There’s got to be over a hundred of members of that yakuza, and not to mention outside connections… I might as well just go to the police and have you all arrested for illegal gambling!”

Sanosuke’s eyes went wide. “Nan de?! Aren’t we friends, Yahiko! Why would you do such a thing!!”

“Dakara! You gave away something that didn’t belong to you!!” Yahiko argued, “This dojo is Kaoru’s inheritance. It’s the only valuable thing she owns!! Without it… without her beloved dojo… what will she do?! Kaoru without her kenjutsu is completely wrong!!”

“Cheh, maybe this will be a good thing for her.” Sanosuke retorted crossing his arms, “Maybe she’ll stop trying to beat up people and start improvising her feminine skills and being a good mother. Times and people can, evolution is inevitable… or so I’ve read in one of Megumi’s books... some guy named DA-RU-WI-N.” (Darwin)

“Sanosuke, would you stop reading books and help me get the dojo back!!” Yahiko cried, now desperate, “Onegai!! I beg of you!! You’ve got to get it back!!”

Sanosuke broke away, turning for the door. “Maa… I don’t care… do it yourself…”


* * *
Kenshin got up last. Nowadays, his body had been acting so strangely and his timings were way off. ‘I’m getting old…’ he thought to himself, ‘So this is how it is when Time catches up with you… Time isn’t on my side any more, is it?’

In the parlor, he saw Kaoru changing Kenji’s diaper. She looked so energetic, while he felt so tired. It was for the first time that he actually thought about their ten-year age difference. Kaoru had recently turned twenty-one and looked very much her age, a full-grown woman. He on the other hand looked trapped in the body of a twenty-something year old. But now he felt like his age was catching up to him.

‘When the baby is ten years old… I’ll be forty. When he’s an adult… I’ll be fifty to sixty. Orororororo~!’ he gasped, counting his fingers, ‘Kaoru would still be so young… I’ll have to fight out those bastards who might think she’s a single mother… I’ll still be there, won’t I??’

“Ohayou Kenshin!” Kaoru chimed, finally noticing him in the doorway, “Nee, Miki-san is already in her shop. I offered to stay around and help out.”

Kenshin blinked his violent eyes, "Oro?" What about me? What am I gonna do, Koishii??"

She pointed to the spare fishing rod leaning against the wall. “Why don’t you go join Takeru-san? The two of you can do some guy-talk. How about it?”

“Eto…” he stammered, rubbing his head. He could tell she had something else planned, but wasn’t too sure what it was about. “H-Hai de gozaru… shikashi…”

”Oh, by the way,” she said, bowing her head, “Could you… well… get him to like me??”


Kaoru sadly frowned. “Takeru-san hates me, I know it. He likes you much better so I thought you could talk to him and see why he hates me. I want to be good friends – is it so much to ask?”

“Koishii,” he chuckled, “I’m sure Takeru-dono doesn’t hate you. He probably just has some issues. Look, I’ll talk to him so don’t worry. You and Kenji take care all right? Don’t get into any trouble.” She nodded, cheering up and going to kiss him on the cheek. “Oro… anything else I can do for you?” he gasped, face all red.

Kaoru’s eyes danced around mischievously. “Weeell… perhaps you could…” She whispered the rest in his ear, invoking a nosebleed. She burst out laughing. “Just kidding! Hurry up before all the fish are gone!! Hayaku ne!”

”Hai!” he chimed, going to kiss her, then the baby, who smelled a little bad. “Oro!! You didn't just...!!"

"Guuu! Guu!" Kenji happily laughed.

* * *
Megumi and Tsubame arrived at the dojo at the same time to see Yahiko lying outside in a heap of despair. After getting him to eat something and function again, he told them his sad tale. “And that bastard Sanosuke won’t help me after all he’s done… I’m such a goner!!”

“Yahiko-kun…” Tsubame uttered, looking at him with worry, “I’ll do anything to help you get the dojo back. You can count on me!”

But he totally ignored her, clutching his head and moaning, “NO! This can’t be happening!!! I’m too young to die!!”

Megumi’s eyes jolted towards Sanosuke who was heading for the kitchen. “Anta ne!!” she snapped, snagging him by the collar, “As your wife I command you to get the girl’s dojo back before Yahiko-kun collapses!”

“Cheh, this is the result of getting married.” he sighed, gulping a bottle of sake, “I’m not in the mood to go beg for the dojo back. Yahiko is on his own he wants to do things the hard way. I say we should go there and beat the living shiit of them! Eheheh!!”

”Oh no you don’t! This is a yazuka you’re dealing with!” she arguing, smacking him on the back to make him spit out what he drunk. “You are going there and apologizing for giving them property that does not belong to you!”

”Like hell they’ll listen!” he argued back, “They don’t care whose property you give, but once it’s theirs – it’s theirs!!”

”Then why in the hell did you bet it??!”

“Because!!! I thought for sure I’d win!!”

Megumi dropped her head and sighed. “Baka… why did I marry someone as stupid as you…” Sanosuke in the background turned ferocious, ready to attack with white eyes and fangs. Megumi ignored him, shaking her head. “Maa, it’s up to you then to explain to the girl what you’ve done… there goes all those feelings she had for you.”

”Haah?” Sanosuke turned back to normal and stared at her, “W-What are you talking about?!”

“You know… you and Kaoru-chan…” she said nonchalantly, “Haven’t you realized all this time… that she’s secretly in love with you??”

“NANI!?” he squeaked, sweat covering his face, “W-W-w-what the hell did you say?!? Usou da! Jou-chan… she… she has Kenshin!! Hell, she married Kenshin!! And she has his kid too!!”

Megumi just tried to cover her mouth, but soon the laughter came pouring out. “Oh ho ho ho ho!! You are so oblivious! The girl’s only as oblivious as you, but I had to do something before Ken-san’s marriage be ruined. Besides, who says love affairs don’t happen outside of marriage.”

Sanosuke now just became angry at her accusations. “What are you implying?! I’m not interested in that tomboy!! And I don’t care what happens to her or her dojo! As your husband I command you to shut the hell up!!!”

Megumi just laughed away, walking back outside to check if the others had lunch. Sanosuke grumbled and threw aside a bottle, ‘Cheh! I don’t care about her!!’

* * *
Kenshin arrived at the pier to see that rather on a boat, Takeru had gotten comfortable by the water’s edge. “Can I join you?” he asked, holding up a bucket. “I brought some extra bait.”

Takeru slowly smiled. “Sure, Himura.” Kenshin nodded and took the place next to him. Takeru lowered his fisher’s cap and sighed, “Hadn’t had a bite yet… maybe you’ll be good luck.”

”I hardly doubt it!” Kenshin laughed, casting his line. Within moments, he already got a bite. Kenshin got on his feet, trying to pull it in. “Ororororororo!!!” he cried, almost falling in. Takeru helped him and they netted a large snapper. “Wow!! It’s bigger than Kenji!!”

“Heh, you are lucky!” Takeru chuckled, “Too bad for me…”

This continued for a while. Kenshin just kept catching enormous-sized fish, while Takeru had none. But Kenshin wasn’t interesting in fishing; he decided to bring up the conversation he wanted.

“Saa… Takeru-dono…" he stammered, "I-I was wondering… about well… my wife… you see…”

”No, I don’t like her.”

Kenshin face-faulted, his head getting stuck in his bucket. Moments later, he lifted his head with a fish on it. “D-Doushite?? Why do you hate her??”

Takeru frowned at his reflection in the water. “I know I now was wrong… I know she was the one who opened my eyes… but still… did it have to be… to be HER?” he sighed.

Kenshin blinked, still totally confused. "Oro...?"

Takeru went into further detail. “My father died fighting the Inshin Shishi with honor. I was intend to upholding such honor. If I were defeated by an Inshin Shishi, I wouldn’t mind, because I had fought my best… only I had to be beaten not by an Inshin Shishi… no, by a woman…”

Kenshin rubbed his head and laughed, “So what? I get beaten by Kaoru all the time! Aahahaha…!” He stopped when he realized that Takeru didn’t think this was funny. “Takeru-dono, you’ve got to realize, Kaoru was the only one who could fight you at the time… and she fought well too. It wasn’t some fluke.”

”I know, I know… it just proves I’m such a loser that I’m beaten by even a woman!”

“Takeru-dono…” Kenshin reasoned, now serious by his facial expression and tone of voice, “It doesn’t matter what gender you are on the battlefield. Man or woman, the outcome results from your strength and will. Back then, Kaoru’s motive to win surpassed yours because you were endangering lives.”

“You’re right…” Takeru replied, “It’s just… when we were fighting… I don’t know… it was like a nightmare… I felt like… like I was fighting my own wife… only she had a sword and a scary look in her eyes… I thought for sure she might kill me.”

Kenshin smiled. “Kaoru wouldn’t kill anyone. It’s against all she believes. Shikashi, at times I wonder if she might be just a bit too spirited. She means no harm, but she gets carried away at times. But you’ll get used to it.”

”Hmmm…” Takeru thought, rubbing his chin, “I… I’ll try…”

All of a sudden, they heard some calling. “Kenshiiin!! Takeru-san!!” Kaoru, holding a bento, and Kenji started to come their way. She cheerfully placed the bento down on the pier and let Kenshin hold their son. “I thought I’d bring you some lunch… Wow! Lots of fish too!”

“They’re for Takeru.” Kenshin explained, giving Kenji a glimspe at the still flapping snappers in the bucket. “Lookie! They swim very well… I’ll take you fishing sometime, okay??”

“Guuu!!!” Kenji happily replied, spitting up some drool.

“How is the taste??” Kaoru asked, leaning in as Takeru tried one of her rice balls. Immediately, he started choking and grasping his throat. He finally just spat everything out. “Heey!! You eat that right now!!”

”No way! It’s terrible!” he snapped. Slowly, his angry face turned to one of laughter and he just started laughing without end, “You’re the worst cook ever!!”

“MOU!! What’s that supposed to mean?!?” Kaoru cried, tears at the ends of her eyes as she waved her fists at him. Despite Mama’s irate reaction, Kenshin and Kenji also laughed, ducking the assault of flying rice balls.

* * *
Tsubame served Yahiko a bowl of soup and hoped he would eat it. But he just gazed off into space, mumbling something about his final hours on earth. She turned towards Megumi for help, but the doctor continued to munch away contently as if she didn’t have a care in the world. Sanosuke was still outside and refused to come in.

‘Mou… that yakuza will come tomorrow to claim the dojo. I have to do something… but what can I do…’ Tsubame thought, rubbing her chin, ‘Hm… I have an idea… but I’ll need Yahiko-kun to help me…’

Megumi lifted her head, recognizing that process going on in her mind from the look in her face. ‘Tsubame-chan is developing her own strength… I hope she doesn’t get herself in trouble. But that idiot outside better snap out of his ruffian self and help out. That joke I told him was funny but… it’s gotten a bit old by now…’

Sanosuke was pacing outside. ‘Jou-chan loves…?! Hell no!! That’s absolute shit! I won’t believe it! I’m a married man!! And she’s married too! Megumi’s talking crazy!’

But as he gazed around the place, he could only let his mind wander back to not so distant memories. The wind gathering around him, Sanosuke soon lost himself in a daydream…

* * *
“Yatta!” Kaoru chimed, grabbing him by the arm, “Lead the way!!” They took a turn into the forest and reached a stream of cool water. After some taunting, they climbed the rock together and held hands. “Yoshi! Let’s do it!!” Leaping from the rock, they splash in the water, laughing. “I’m having lots of fun with you, Kaoru…”

* * *
The scene switches to the dark forest, when Kaoru had leaped at him, throwing her arms around his neck. “Arigatou!!” she cried, then pressing a kiss on his cheek. Sanosuke chuckled and lifted her up, swinging her in his arms until Kenshin finally approached them.

* * *
On the ship home, Sanosuke sat at her bedside in the dim and empty cabin. Slowly he lifted his hand and took hold of hers. It felt so cold. ‘Please wake up…’ he pleaded, not sure why he wanted her to wake up so badly. ‘Come on, Jou-chan!’

* * *
“I have a name you know!” Kaoru snapped at him, her blue eyes tearful. They stood outside her house. It had been weeks since Kenshin had left. She was alone and pregnant, Sanosuke the only one there to keep her company. Sanosuke slowly nodded, aware of the suffering she had gone through.

* * *
A dark evening in Kyushu, Megumi had broken up with Sanosuke. He stood on the balcony, opposite Kaoru, stunned from hearing this news. “Don’t give up!” she told him, kissing him on the cheek before leaving him behind. Touching his cheek, he smiled after her. ‘Arigatou yo, Kaoru…’

* * *
Lying on the ground on the streets, his blood pouring out from his wound. “Tell Megumi … I love her…” he managed to say. Kaoru shook her head, going to lift him with every bit of her strength. “No! I won’t let you die, Sanosuke!!”

* * *
Lastly, the night of the unforgettable storm… Sanosuke could hear the rain pounding on his shabby apartment. Kaoru closed her eyes and buried her face in his chest sobbing. “Don’t leave me alone, Sanosuke… please…”

* * *
“UWAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!” Sanosuke exclaimed, tripping on a rock and falling on his face. ‘Masaka!!’ Kaoru’s face appeared in his mind. ‘MASAKA!?!’ Her bright and cheerful smile. ‘JOU-CHAN… iya, I mean… KAORU LOVES ME??!!’

onto part 3
back to part 1